It's hot. I'm sure you have noticed. It can be hard to maintain our practice on days where we may feel lethargic, dull, achy. For those of you wanting to do some practices despite the hot weather, here are 5 practices that might be suitable. You can do them individually, or you could put them together for a short hot weather practice at home.
1. Body scan
This is a useful mindfulness practice. Remember mindfulness is NON JUDGEMENTAL awareness of the present moment. Pause and bring your attention into the body. Notice what parts of your body might feel hot. Is it your forehead? Your chest? Your organs? Now notice any sensations of coolness present. Maybe there is some airflow from a fan or air conditioner touching your hands, feet of face. What else do you notice? Accept what is in this moment.
2. Sheetali breathing
This is a useful pranayama (breathing) practice for hot weather. It is a bit like a dog panting, we draw air in through the mouth, either over the tongue curled in from the edges like a tube, or over the teeth. Either way looks silly, and its genetics that will determine if you can make the tongue tube. We inhale through the mouth, gently moving the head upwards at the same time. We then retain the inhale momentarily and exhale through the nose. Try just a few rounds, perhaps a maximum of 9.
3. Hand massage and mudras
I find that I notice swelling and aching through my hands in this weather. I like to do some gentle hand massage and wrist rolling movements to ease through the joints. Mudras are also useful in this weather. One of my favourite is the Hridaya Mudra for the heart centre.
From a comfortable seat, place the tips of your middle and ring fingers to your thumbs. The index finger curls inwards towards the base of your thumb, and your little finger extends out straight. Pause and breathe here. This mudra is said to energise the heart centre, and is useful to release emotional energy.
I love practicing gentle twists in this weather. Simple wringing movements feel good in my spine. Either from a supine position on the floor, allowing the legs to gently roll from side to side, or a simple chair twist, held for a few breaths each side.
Legs up the wall (or chair) pose
Let's remember how useful this is for establishing a good sleep routine. Perhaps before you go to bed, place your legs on a chair, or on the wall, making sure you feel completely comfortable and relaxed. I have been known to fall asleep, so perhaps it might be good to use a timer to tell you to come out after 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
I hope these suggestions are useful. Take care and stay cool